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Cheat Sheet

Web Analytics For Dummies

From Web Analytics For Dummies by Pedro Sostre, Jennifer LeClaire

Performing a website analysis doesn't have to be grueling and time-intensive. You can summarize your website's overall performance quickly — if you know what to look for. Free and low-cost web analytics tools can help you measure your website's success, and you can generate site referrers in a host of ways that may not have occurred to you.

9 Ways to Quickly Summarize Your Website's Performance

You don't need to spend hours poring over your website's web analytics report to get some big news. Here are a few ways to quickly analyze your website.

  • View your Site Summary. Glancing at this report will give you a quick overview of unique visitors, number of visits, average visitors per visitor, number of pages viewed, and other pertinent data.

  • Review your Monthly History report. You can compare your unique visitors this month to last month or six months ago or the same month form a year ago.

  • Examine Days of Month report. This will tell you which days brought you the most traffic. Was that special promotion you launched last week effective?

  • Review your Robots/Spider Visitors report. Are Googlebot and MSNBot crawling over your pages? If not, you may need to go register with them.

  • View your Visits Duration report. Are most visitors leaving within 30 seconds? It may be time to revamp your website.

  • Check out your Top Pages report. What pages are visitor favorites? Now try to figure out why.

  • View your Site Referrer report. Where is your traffic coming from?

  • View your Keywords and Keyphrases report. Which words are working for you?

  • View your HTTP Error Codes report. Are there problems on your site you need to fix?

A Web Analytics-Driven Website Checklist

A website that's fine tuned for web analytics should accomplish a few things, including persuading site visitors to linger on your site and convert visitors into customers. Ask yourself the following questions when critiquing your website.

  • Are my most popular pages designed to convert visitors into customers?

  • Does my site offer visitors a compelling reason to come back often?

  • Does my website copy make use of the most popular keywords and keyphrases?

  • Does the average visitor look at several pages, or leave after just one?

  • Which particular group of users generates the most conversions?

  • Are your keywords and keyphrases driving targeted traffic?

  • Are there broken pages or graphics that are hurting my website's credibility?

  • Do most visitors tend to exit on a particular page? What might be causing them to leave on that page?

  • Are your landing pages converting visitors into customers?

  • Are visitors naturally navigating between sections of the site that lead to cross-selling and up-selling opportunities?

  • Are visitors abandoning the sale at the shopping cart?

  • Are visitors finding answers on the customer service and FAQ pages?

11 Free or Low-Cost Web Analytics Tools

Check out the following sources for free (or extremely cheap) ways to dive into web analytics. This list is sure to contain a web analytics vendor that suits your needs.

How to Generate Site-Referrer Ideas

Site referrers build traffic for your website. Here's a quick list of some site referrers you may not have thought of — and a few you may need to be reminded of.

  • Mainstream search directories

  • Niche search engines

  • Association websites

  • Submitting content to free article banks

  • Content exchanges

  • Webrings

  • Press releases

  • Affiliate marketing

  • Strategic alliances with other companies

  • Newsletters

  • E-mail campaigns

  • Offering free content on your site

  • Search engine marketing

  • Link exchanges

  • Blogging

  • Online forums

  • Contests and awards

  • Online PR

  • Offline PR

  • Link-building services

  • Banner ads

  • Promoting a charitable cause

  • Friends, family and employees

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